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dome of the rockAl-Haram al Sharif

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The contrast between the frenzy of the Old City and the tranquillity of the Haram Al-sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, is striking. However, this reverential calm is not surprising in that the location, on the summit of Mount Moriah, is deeply significant to each of the world's three great monotheistic faiths.

According to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah is the spot where Abraham prepard to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22). (In Islam, it was Ishmael, Isaac's elder brother who was prepared for sacrifice by Abraham.) Several millennia later, King David bought the side, then a threshing floor, for six hundred shekels of gold to be the location for a temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. The temple was built by his son, Solomon, in circa 960 BC. The Temple formed the focal point of the Jewish faith until it was demolished along with the rest of the city by Nebuchadneezzar's forces in 587 BC. When the Jews returned from exile the Temple was rebuilt in 535 BC, although it lacked the luxuriance and ostentation of Solomon's original. Five hundred years later, Herod refurbished the temple in an attempt to match the original glory of Solomon's masterpiece, hoping to win approval from his Jewish subjects, not to mention from his Jewish wife.

It is Herod's temple which figures frequently in the life of Jesus. For this reason the Temple Mount has great significance for Christians too. His parents found Him praying there as a young boy (Luke 2:41-51). The Devil set Him upon the highest point of the Temple to showe Him the world and tempt Him with earthly goods (Matthew 4:5). It was in this temple that He upset the tables of the money changers (Matthew 21: 12-17). At the hour of His crucifixion the Babylonian veil separating the Temple's nave from the Holy of Holies was mysteriously torn completely in two (Mark 15:38). Before He died, Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed so that 'there shall not be left one stone upon another', which was fulfilled to the letter by the Romans in 70 AD.

The Islamic reverence for the site is derived from the 17th Sure (chapter) of the Koran, which concerns the Prophet's "Night Flight". Having fallen asleep while praying to God in his home town of Mecca, Mohammed was awakened by the archangel Gabriel and, mounting a winged steed named Al-Buraq, was taken to the 'furthermost place'. Once there, he ascended to Heaven to pray with Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets, and received instructions that form the five pillars of Islam. Muslems have identified this furthermost place as Jerusalem and the place from which he ascended to Heaven as the Temple Mount. Accordingly, Muslims refer to the entire side as the Haram Al-Aqsa, the 'Furthermost Sanctuary'. The second Muslim Caliph, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, who conquered Jerusalem in AD 637, four years after Mohammed's death and 17 years after the Night Flight, cleared the debris from the site and built a wooden mosque that held 3,000 worshippers. In AD 685 the Ommayad Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan began work on the Dome of the Rock. A few years later, Al-Khattab's wooden mosque was replaced by a more permanent structure capable of holding over 5,000 worshippers.

Save for a brief interim of 88 years during the Crusader era, the mount has been occupied by the Muslims ever since. Since the start of the Second Intifada, only Muslims coming to pray may visit the Haram Al-Aqsa. We were extremely fortunate to have been allowed to visit these Holy sites.

Some views of the Haram Al-Sharif.

Click with the right mouse button to see the full-size photo.
dome of the rock

Dome of the Rock

dome of the rock

Dome of the Rock

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Dome of the Rock

Noble Santuary

In the Noble Sanctuary, beside the Dome of the Rock

Noble Santuary

In the Noble Sanctuary, beside the Dome of the Rock

Noble Sanctuary

Going up the stairs toward the Dome of the Rock

towards the Al Aqsa Mosque

Looking toward the Al Aqsa Mosque

interior of the Al-Aqsa mosque

Interior of the Al-Aqsa Mosque

interior of Al Aqsa dome

Interior of the Al Aqsa dome

Al Aqsa interior

Interior of the Al Aqsa Mosque

weapons taken from Jewish terrorists attempting to destroy the mosque

Weapons taken from Jewish terrorists attempting to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque

Dome of the rock

Dome of the Rock.

interior, dome of the rock

Interior of the Dome of the Rock

interior, dome of the rock

Interior of the Dome of the Rock

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Dome of the Rock

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Visit the other pages in the Palestine section. click the link to go to the page.

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Patti

This page was updated on 26 November 2007.

Contact me at: patti.primeau@sympatico.ca

This site was edited using Nvu and Style Master.

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